Have you ever gotten LOST?
Would you like to never have to ask directions at a gas station again?
Would you like to explore the woods with complete confidence that you can ALWAYS find your way back?
Then Orienteering, sometimes called the “Thinking Sport“, is for you. “Getting Lost” can really be a thing of the past!
In the sport of Orienteering contestants race through rugged back-country making crucial navigational decisions on the run. Orienteering involves speed-navigating through unfamiliar terrain to specific check-points using a highly detailed topographical map and a compass.
Orienteering can be enjoyed at any age, either as a relaxing recreational activity or as an intensely competitive sport. World-class orienteers are some of the best all-around athletes in the world, but the sport can be enjoyed at any level of physical and mental ability, from pregnant mothers in flip-flops pushing big-wheeled strollers through the woods (I have seen this) to hard-driving marathon runners performing at the limits of human endurance and intellect.
Here’s a YouTube video Orienteering in Indiana that gives a good overview of the sport of orienteering. It’s from an Indiana public TV program and was filmed at one of the Bloomington, Indiana O-club’s meets at Camp Ransburg on March 27, 2003. The host club was Indiana Crossroads Orienteering.
Recently I took the very small boy in the picture orienteering with me. Upon returning I told his parents how the first time we left the trail and struck off through a dense thicket, he seemed a little alarmed as indicated by his repeated requests for me to wait for him when I was only about 10 feet in front.
His mother asked him, “Were you afraid?”
He cheerfully answered, “No, I just followed Mr. Pelletier.”
I thought to myself, what a picture of faith. He trusted me to use tools he didn’t understand (map and compass) to guide us through difficult backwoods terrain he did not know.
Life is like taking an off-trail hike through the woods. We hit swamps we have to slog through, steep hills to laboriously climb up and stagger down, logs to stumble over, dense bramble thickets to struggle through. The person we follow who knows the way is Jesus of Nazareth who said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.” (John 14:6) He guides us with His Word and by His Spirit. Don’t be afraid. All we have to do is contentedly follow Him like my little friend followed me.
Now for some answers to questions the pictures may have prompted:
1. Why all the orange?
So hunters can easily spot me before pulling a trigger or bowstring.
2. What’s that hanging from my neck?
It’s an orienteering map in a clear pouch.
The map has brown contour lines to show the topography of the land (hills, valleys, etc) and color coding to show vegetation and features (roads, trails, buildings, rock piles, water, etc).
Click the sample O-map at the right to see a larger version.
3. Why do you like Orienteering?
It combines outdoor physical activity with mental challenges. While hiking through rugged backwoods terrain, you have to make navigational decisions to find specified check points without getting lost.
And watch this British YouTube video, Orienteering for Beginners, filmed Oct 28, 2006:
Soli Deo Gloria.
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©William T. Pelletier, Ph.D.
“contending earnestly for the faith”
“destroying speculations against the knowledge of God”
(Jude 1:3; 2 Cor 10:4)
Wednesday November 28, 2007 A.D.
Read the November 2007 Bible-Science column:
Thy Word is a lamp to my feet, and a light to my path. (Psalm 119:105)